Heading down Main Street last night, along the Theatre District, my eyes were immediately drawn to the wash of colors that light up the building facades. This is the same section of Main Street that was recently reopened to auto traffic.
A short while ago I reached out to Morgan Smith, Deputy Executive Director at Buffalo Place, who gave me some background on the colorful lights, and their role on the street.
“The LED lights were installed, in the Theatre District block only, as part of the City’s Cars Sharing Main Street project,” says Morgan. “From the beginning of the stakeholder meetings with the City, all parties agreed that there should be something unique incorporated in the that block to celebrate/highlight the theatrical nature of the district.”
“There are a total of 46 lights mounted in pairs on the light poles in the block,” Morgan points out. “Depending on the exact location some lights illuminate the adjacent buildings, while other shine on the sidewalks. There are also LED lights in the “Theatre District” sign just south of Tupper. All fixtures are programmable for a full spectrum of colors that can be set in an infinite number of patterns. The lights have a routine program, and can also be programmed to run special shows, for example Gold and Blue when the Sabres play, Red and Blue for the Bills, Red for Valentine’s Day, etc. By arrangement with the City, Buffalo Place handles the programming.”
To me, the LED lights remind of the past blue neon light initiative on Elmwood from the mid-80s. Those lights are mostly burned out and/or broken at this point. I always loved seeing the Elmwood “Neon Strip” lit up when I was young. Likewise, I think that LED treatment on this section of Main Street adds a lot of character to the district. Plus, LEDs are a lot easier to maintain than neon lighting, and cheaper to fix/operate.